Dubious encounters of the British kind

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The Independent Online

Britain's "X-files" are open at last . The Independent, with help from the new Freedom of Information Act, has accessed documents which hitherto lay hidden deep within the Ministry of Defence's special UFO department, known as SF4.

Britain's "X-files" are open at last . The Independent, with help from the new Freedom of Information Act, has accessed documents which hitherto lay hidden deep within the Ministry of Defence's special UFO department, known as SF4.

The testimonies from three decades ago are fascinating but, sadly, barely enough to make even the most credulous conspiracy theorist's mouth water. Consider the details of this sighting near Newcastle-under-Lyme in July 1977: "Bright, objects hanging over the sea. Luminous, round and four to five times larger than a Whirlwind helicopter." It's not exactly Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

But there is enough there for those who cling to the idea that alien life-forms have visited us from outer space. After all, for all the popularity of LSD in the 1970s, the witnesses are sober folk such as RAF personnel and senior police officers. So we cynics in the media should put aside our scepticism and accept that ET may have made a trip to check out the denizens of Staffordshire.

We demand a crack team of Mulder and Scullys to get to the bottom of the mysteries raised by these files. After all, the truth is out there.

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